The use of standardized patients (SPs) in health care education has grown in the last 50 years. In addition, the requirements for SPs have increased steadily, and thus, the work of SPs has become more difficult and demanding. It has been claimed that SP programs are highly contextualized, having emerged from local, institutional, professional, and national conditions, but their effects on SPs have not been investigated. We have studied the effects of this job development on SPs and their programs.Methods
The study was conducted using a qualitative research design, with semistructured individual in-depth interviews to understand the reactions, values, and perceptions that underlie and influence SP behavior. To cover SP perspectives from more than 1 SP program, a total of 15 SPs from 8 different nursing schools and medical schools in Switzerland were asked to participate.Results
Standardized patients feel motivated, engaged, and willing to invest effort in their task and do not mind demands increasing as long as the social environment in SP programs is supportive. The role of the SP trainer and the use of feedback are considered very important.Conclusions
Standardized patient programs require concepts in which the SP perspective has been integrated to better serve SPs' well-being. Standardized patients are valuable partners in the training of health professionals—we need to take care of them.